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Superintendents Message

October 18, 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students of the Oskaloosa School District:

As we inch our way closer to the end of the first trimester, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Oskaloosa Community School District family who played a part in helping the 2019-2020 school year get off to a great start. It really does take a whole community to help our students reach their potential. You are all a very important part of our school community.

We have an exciting new program/opportunity/partnership for our high school juniors and seniors this school year. The district received a grant from the Iowa Employer Innovation Fund to provide transportation to any junior or senior who is interested in attending one of the Indian Hills Career Discovery Academies. The district has partnered with Clow Valve Company, Interpower, Kelderman Mfg., Musco Lighting, and Oskaloosa Engineering & Manufacturing. These partners are providing matching funds to support the grant along with other employment opportunities for students who participate in the program. Career Discovery Academy options include (not all options available all trimesters):

Accounting

Agricultural/Biofuels Process Technology

Automotive Technology

Business Specialist

Clinical Lab Assistant

Computer Accounting

Cybersecurity/Systems Administration

Computer Software Development

Diesel Technology

Electronics

Health Unit Coordinator

Interactive Media Technology

Machine Technology

Nutrition & Dietary Management

Phlebotomy Technician

Pharmacy Technology

Welding Technology

 

Currently, we have students participating in two of the Career Discovery Academies. We have several more students signed up to take advantage of this program beginning in the 2nd trimester. This is an AMAZING opportunity for our students. If you know a current junior or senior who would be interested in this opportunity to earn college credits while in high school, please reach out to our OHS school counselors for more information on how to get them enrolled.

We have received our fall screening results from our kindergarten through eighth grade reading and math FAST assessments. The following chart outlines the different screeners each grade level administers:

Grade

Screener

Kindergarten & First Grade

Early Reading
Early Math

Second Fifth Grades

CBM (Fluency)
aReading (Comprehension) aMath

Sixth Eighth Grades

aReading (Comprehension) aMath

Our overall results from fall 2018 compared to fall 2019 are summarized in the chart below. The elementary has implemented “Fundations”, an early literacy program that focuses on phonics and other early learning reading skills. In all grades, we are implementing research based strategies in our core instruction to improve our fluency (reading speed) and comprehension in our core instruction as well as provide individualized interventions for students who need additional instruction. Our current goal is 80% of our students meeting grade level proficiency and I know we can get there! Ideas for you to support your student at home include:

  •   reading to your child (all ages!),

  •   read road signs and billboards when you are in the car,

  •   have students read the directions on the box or the recipe when you are cooking,

  •   have your child count the change in your pocket,

  •   have them help you add the price of items when shopping,

  •   allow them to help you measure ingredients for a recipe or double amounts of things,

  •   attend the reading/math night at the elementary -October 22 (K-2) & October 24 (3-5)

    Any and all opportunities to read and practice math skills will help your child meet their learning targets. Feel free to reach out to your child(ren)’s teacher(s) for additional ways to support your learner(s).

  • reading and math goals chart

Enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year has decreased from the previous year. The number of resident students (students living in our district no matter where they attend school) has declined by 57 students. The number of students who open enroll to other school districts has decreased from 12% to 10% for this school year. School districts are funded by a formula based on the number of resident students. With a reduction in resident students, we will experience a reduction in revenue and therefore be looking at ways to reduce our expenditures. On a positive note, our average class size continues to be 20 students per classroom. This allows our staff to meet the needs of our students and provide individualized attention.

One of the priorities for the district this school year is to improve communication and perception of the district and provide a positive and safe learning environment for faculty, staff, students and families. We have been working this fall to implement social emotional learning (SEL) instruction. Social emotional learning (SEL) is comprised of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. The instruction is taking place for our students as well as our staff. We have set the expectation that all staff and students will gain an understanding into social emotional learning and implement strategies to understand the perspectives of others, control impulses, increase motivation, communicate clearly, make constructive choices about behavior, improve social interactions, and care about others. We are gathering data in the form of surveys as to how well students are connected to school and how we can help them engage in their education. If you have any questions regarding the SEL learning happening at your child’s building, please contact the building principal.

Once again, thank you for a great start to the school year and for your support of the OCSD! We appreciate your partnership on this journey to help your child(ren) reach their potential and embrace the power of learning!

Paula J. Wright
Superintendent
Oskaloosa Community School District